City Times Staff
Gregg Hansel, director of education for Pacelli Catholic Schools, makes a gleeful motion watching an electronic toy, named Dash, move on its own based on electronic directions encoded by students.
The demonstration was part of Entrepalooza, a business-education summit hosted by the Portage Co. Business Council on Wednesday. The summit brought together leaders from local business, nonprofit and education industries to discuss what’s working, and what’s lacking, regarding local support of entrepreneurship.
Hansel’s presentation revolved around the Catholic school system’s new STEM (Science, Math, Technology and Science) programs that recently began to introduce students to computer coding. Dash was just an example of what the students could do.
“We learned a lot of things during the process; the kids didn’t want to go to recess, they wanted to stay inside and work on this, it excites them,” Hansel said. “K through 12, a lot of times, is the last group to get on board in terms of where they should be.”
Hansel said the STEM coding program will be mandatory for all students, beginning with kindergarten, this fall.
“When our kindergartners graduate in 12 years, I can’t imagine them getting any job without these skills,” he said.